The subject reports are out somewhere as I have seen a copy! Not sure if they have been added to the OCC site yet though. The reports are quite disappointing – no acknowledgement of any faults with the paper, and really narrow grade boundaries – I think 7 marks jumped students 2 grades. I have emailed and got a response from the IB chief examiner with my concerns for this paper. From his response I am hopeful that the exams will be better this year. I will keep my fingers crossed.

]]>We teachers, who so love the HL syllabus yet get so frustrated by the standard and consistency of questions set in the papers each year, do need to question how the IBO moderates the questions it sets. There was a very peculiar trigonometry question on TZ2 Paper 1 this year with a false “hence” which would not have passed any kind of road testing. This kind of error is so avoidable! And, as you say, writing questions which are perceived as so tough is in the end completely self-defeating. ]]>

thanks – I will see if I can hunt down the 2004 paper!

]]>In a normal exam again I would agree that question (2) is just one of those things you accept – but when you have a number of challenging questions then this becomes more of an issue. Also I really don’t like the markscheme on this – it’s either going to be 7 marks or nothing.

I think I overstated question (4) – there is enough scaffolding and a standard differential equation to solve in the meantime. Actually first time I looked at this I thought “integrating factor” – because it’s written in the right form for that. Wonder how many will go that route rather than separate variables?

What would take to make this a decent paper:

reduce the Fundamental Theorem Question to 4 marks – and include it in a question using an indefinite integral, or a Riemann sum (easy case)

Take out the first part of question (4) and replace it with a numerical or graphical method for differential equations

Take out the whole of question (5) and replace it with a standard 10 mark question testing the radius of convergence – allowing the students to use the ratio test, plus a couple of the other tests at the boundaries….

and to make a much more accessible paper – perhaps replace Lagrange with L’Hopital or a continuous function question….

]]>1) 7 points on something like Lagrange error is asking for a lot of kids to miss marks.

2) Given the small sample size of past questions in the option (especially topics that were not on the old curriculum), I don’t think it’s worth complaining that there wasn’t guidance in specimen papers or in textbooks – it’s an unfortunate reality that will arise anytime a curriculum is overhauled. Using most standard calculus texts as a guide will find plenty of material on FTC, as would using exam materials from other courses (AP calc has a lot of FTC for example).

3) probably over represented here, but that’s going to happen when the exam is only 60 marks.

4) I don’t see this as a “new type of differential equation” – you ended up separating variables after the substitution, no? I agree however that the substitution step was unnecessary as separating variables would have sufficed from the beginning.

5) This one was indeed a mess.

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